Chirp, Chirp!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Having friends who are spending the year in Las Palmas makes exploring this island infinitely easier. The added bonus in addition to their knowledge is the fact that they have a car.
Monday morning we got up around 9:00 and went in search of breakfast. We found a small bakery with seaside tables and we had our morning coffee and a roll while we watched the world go by. When we finished we decided that we would take a stroll along El Paseo de las Canteras, a walkway that goes the length of the beach. You have the Atlantic on your right and a series of shops, restaurants, apartments and hotels on your left. We had been walking for a couple of hours when Juliet called and proposed meeting us to search out a place for lunch. The idea was that we would meet up a little before 1:00 and then call Stephanie who got out of class at 1:00 and have her join us.
We settled in at a restaurant that Stephanie’s Spanish teacher had recommended and while we waited fr Stephanie to make her appearance, we had a drink and nibbled on some bar snacks. When Stephanie came by we decided to have some lunch and while Stephanie dove into a steak, Susan, Juliet and I ordered a specialty of the island, vieja or parrot fish. It is a mild, white fish that was prepared on the grill with an abundance of garlic. It was served with papas arrugadas, a specialty of the Canaries that consists of small potatoes that are coated with an abundance of sea salt and served with a tomato based mojo that adds the perfect touch. We enjoyed a lovely Riojan red, Ramon de Bilbao, and were very pleased with our choices. We passed on dessert and had our coffee and along with the coffee our waiter placed four shot glasses on the table, along with a bottle of ronmiel. Ronmiel is another specialty of the Canaries and it is a liqueur made with rum and honey. This particular brand, Artemi, is smoother than most and goes down pretty easily. In the course of our after-lunch conversation we managed to polish off half the bottle.
Stephanie and Juliet left around 4:00 to pick up the kids and Susan and I made our way back to the hotel. We rested up a bit and then went out again at 7:30 to take brief walk and find a light bite. We stopped off at a cafe near the hotel and had a very tasty salpicon de mariscos that went down very easily with the local beer. We were back in our room by 9:30 and after puttering around a bit we opted for an early bedtime.
Juliet called around 10:00 Tuesday morning and we agreed to meet in the old part of town that is known as La Vagueta. We took the Guagua Municipal that is the local bs system that plies the main thoroughfares of the city. An interesting footnote that is a peek into the mind of the local who are extremely polite took place when, at one of our stops, a pregnant woman entered the bus. A minute or two later the bus driver calls back and inquires if the regnant woman has found a seat. When he receives a positive reply, he sets the bus in motion again.
The bus dropped us off right in front of the Mercado Central and Jukiet met up with us a few minutes later. We began our exploration with a visit to the market. It is laid out a bit differently than the one we re used to in Valencia and there is a greater separation between the stalls of the purveyors. The stalls are also more enclosed. In a rather quick visit we saw an abundance of fruit and vegetable stands and a rather healthy number of stalls selling freshly caught fish.
Our next stop was the Columbus Museum that is small in size, but extremely interesting. There are a number of models of his sailing ships, maps, portraits, furniture and sculptures. There are even two macaws in the courtyard, one of which had attacked Juliet during a previous visit. When we finished our tour of the museum we made our way to the Cathedral.
The Cathedral is Gothic in style, relatively large and simple in design. It lacks all the excesses that one tends to find in Spain’s larger cathedrals. It looks like a space where one comes to find God, as opposed to a space that is meant to impress with its excesses of statuary, stained glass, gold and silver.
It was a short walk to the Triana neighborhood where we parked ourselves t an outdoor cafe and waited for Stephanie’s arrival. When she came we ordered lunch from the menu of the day and we were all pleased with our choices. I had the albondigas caseras, Susan had arroz a la cubana and Juliet had ropa vieja, which in the Canaries is a stew made with potatoes, garbanzos and octopus. Dessert and coffee followed and we then parted ways. Stephanie and Juliet went to pick up the kids and we headed back to the hotel for a brief respite.
At 4:40 we hopped a cab and headed out to Telde, the neighborhood where Juliet and Stephanie live. We were to meet up in nearby La Garita to catch up with adults and kids and to explore the walkway that goes along the beach area there. It was sunny and not to hot and the sun played continuously on the clear blue waters of the Atlantic. The sandy beach is replaced by outcroppings of volcanic rock making one wish they had paid more attention during geology class. Juliet took us to her happy place and that involved a bit of climbing that posed a challenge to my creaky knees, but I managed to be equal to the challenge.
We found ourselves on an outcropping of rock with a perfect view of the water as it kicked up an impressive spray as it crashed against the outcroppings of rock. There were small craters in the rocks that were filled with salt deposited there when the pools of water were dried up by the sun. We made our way back up the incline and stopped off at a nearby cafe for refreshments. From there we walked to Juliet and Stephanie’s house.
They have rented a small two bedroom apartment that overlooks the water. The view is spectacular. The building in which they live used to be part of a hotel and the main building of the hotel sits in a state of decomposition. The apartments that were chiseled out from the old rooms and suites are as modern as can be and in excellent condition.
I had brought a number of goodies for Lola and Lucy and the four of us sat around the table for a session of show and tell. In a short period of time the table was filled with personalized business cards, crazy bands, flashlight pigs, flying butterflies, jumping origami frogs and pearl poodles. While we played we snacked on cheeses. chorizo, nuts and other goodies. As 8:00 o’clock approached I did a magic trick for the kids and then Juliet drove us back to our hotel.
It had been a long and tiring day and it turned out that we had walked close to eight miles and had climbed the equivalent of twenty-five flights of stairs. My knees and ankles were not too happy. We puttered around for a while and were in bed by 11:00 already knowing what tomorrow’s adventure would be.
There are no pictures attached because I am working on my iPad and WordPress is not as friendly as the computer version. However, I will share Susan’s Facebook pictures and I will leave it to you to combine the two.

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